irish beef stewThere are so many versions of Irish Stew. Some people say you should just have white vegetables in it, at Wickedfood cooking School we add 1 or 2T of barley in at the start with the stock, or  2 to 3 potatoes. Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin. Encouraged by her family, Rachel went to the Ballymaloe Cookery School at the age of 18 and realised that she wanted to make food her career. After graduating from the school she cooked at the Ballymaloe House Hotel, eventually returning to teach at the school. This hearty, wholesome stew is Rachel’s interpretation and ultimate taste of Ireland.


3T  oil

1½kg stewing beef, cut into cubes

175g streaky bacon

12 baby onions, peeled

18 button mushrooms, left whole

3 carrots, cut into quarters or 12 baby carrots, scrubbed and left whole

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1T chopped thyme

2T chopped parsley

10 cloves of garlic, crushed and grated

2 cups red wine

2 cups chicken or beef stock

For the roux 50g/2oz butter50g/1¾oz flour

  1. Brown the beef and bacon in the oil in a hot casserole.
  2. Remove the meat and toss in the onions, mushrooms and carrots, one ingredient at a time, seasoning each time.
  3. Place these back in the casserole, along with the herbs and garlic.
  4. Cover with red wine and stock and simmer for one hour or until the meat and vegetables are cooked.
  5. To make the roux, in a separate pan melt the butter, add the flour and cook for two minutes.
  6. When the stew is cooked, remove the meat and vegetables.
  7. Bring the remaining liquid to the boil and add  1T of roux.
  8. Whisk the mixture until the roux is broken up and the juices have thickened, allowing to boil.
  9. Replace the meat and vegetables, and taste for seasoning.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with mash (or champ as they do in Ireland).

Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking studio. Cookery classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – teambuilding cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our cooking lessons are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and team building cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.